Former Danish PM calls out Tory minister for saying the 'UK is leading the world' against Russia

Former Danish PM calls out Tory minister for saying the 'UK is ...

Denmark's former prime minister laughed in the face of a conservative minister's claims that Russia will see the UK as "leading" against its invasion in Ukraine.

On BBC Question Time last night, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, who led her country from 2011 to 2015, clashed with education secretary Nadhim Zahawi when he was slightly overzealous about Britain's role in the crisis while discussing refugees.

"When you have a maligned state like Russia that sees the UK as leading the coordination effort into, we've just discussed it, militarily, lethal, defensive weapons, aids, sanctions..." Zahawi said.

Thorning-Schmidt replied: "You said something that almost made me chuckle before when you said that Putin will think that the UK is leading the efforts against Russia right now - of course it's not, the European Union is leading the effort against Russia so I don't think they'll see Boris Johnson as a particular leader in this field so set that straight."

"It should be a team effort, coordinated..." the minister interjected.

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"It's just because you said that Russia will see UK as a leader and I don't know why they would do that, so that's one thing," she said before chuckling.

It comes as the British government faces scrutiny over its response to the Ukraine crisis which has displaced over two million refugees, according to the United Nations.

While other countries including the whole EU bloc have waived visas temporarily for those fleeing the country, Britain has created two schemes meaning only those sponsored or with family links to Britain can enter the country.

Meanwhile, the UK is also being slapped on the wrist in terms of its sanctions policy, with the leader of the opposition Keir Starmer telling Boris Johnson last week to do more so that Putin's economy is thoroughly squeezed.

Elsewhere Thorning-Schmidt predicted that Putin will lose the war and that the west would be able to negotiate with him. "We have to show that Putin is up against a mighty enemy," she said, citing democracy, the military and the economy as three things that "will prevail" to make the Russian leader capitulate to the west.

"It never ends well for dictators and despots," Zahawi added.

The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered. To find out more about our Refugees Welcome campaign, click here. To sign the petition click here. If you would like to donate then please click here for our GoFundMe page.

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